When a new kid shows up at a playground do you know what happens? The kid typically gets the shaft.
Why? Because kids, and adults, don’t cotton to strangers right away. It takes time.
This concept appears to be a surprise to the editors of the Wall Street Journal’s Business Insight supplement put out today — “Why Diversity Can Backfire on Company Boards”
The article purports to help companies deal with diversity, but most of it centers on how hard it is to integrate women and minorities onto boards.
As much as diversity is something we prize, the truth is that people often feel baffled, threatened or even annoyed by persons with views and backgrounds very different from their own. The result is that when directors are appointed because their views or backgrounds are different, they often are isolated and ignored. Constructive disagreements spill over into personal battles.
Boo, hoo and tough noogies guys. It’s hard but it has to be done.
The number of women are boards is a disgrace in this country.
This from Catalyst, a non profit research firm that promotes diversity in Corporate America, on 2009’s numbers:
Women held 15.2 percent of board seats, a number that reflects little growth over the past five years.
“It’s not enough to recognize the need to advance women into leadership positions,” said Ilene H. Lang, president and CEO of Catalyst. “It’s time to execute on it.”
Here’s some sage advice from my mom. It’s hard to do what’s right.
We’re all going to have to suffer a little discomfort to level the playing field in business.
Maybe it’s just too hard for you boys in power. If so, you might need a mom to come onto your boardroom playground and force you to play nice with the new girl. (Norway forced companies to put women on boards.)
Don’t worry, she doesn’t have koodies.
UPDATE: I decided to comment on the WSJ’s site where the article was published.
This is what I wrote:
I’m surprised the authors didn’t suggest a boardroom circle time, similar to those held at preschools.
Why is it surprising that diversity is hard. It is and we have to get over it.
Women still only make up 15 percent of US board seats, and that figure is little changed in the last 5 years, according to Catalyst. (I blog about that today, www.CareerDiva.net.)
If it’s so hard, maybe we should take a page from Norway and force corporations to integrate their boards.
This is what some guy named Dorian Marvin wrote in response:
Hasn’t Norway done enough? They gave Obama a Nobel Prize for Peace on less than 2 weeks of work and no milestones met, not even metrics set.
Let’s let Norway keep its business, and simply comprehend that the destruction of the male worker in the current economy should pay dividends for femaled executives in good time - there just won’t be any male compettion at least as in the rise through the ranks variety.
If women still can’t achieve boardroom success after this coup, then here’s a thought - despite all the clucking, maybe they don’t really want it?
The jury is still out though.
Are women just clucking? Are we just a bunch of noisy hens?